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‘Casablanca’ sequel would not live up to the original

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Posted: Saturday, December 1, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 6:26 am, Sat Dec 1, 2012.

Thanksgiving Day marked the movie classic "Casablanca's" 70th anniversary. The film is high on critics and fans list of favorites. "Casablanca's" dialogue includes the most heavily quoted movie lines of all time; example: "We'll always have Paris." The theme song, "As Time Goes By," has also endured.

Rushed into pre-release in 1942 to take advantage of the Allies' recapture of Casablanca from the Nazis, "Casablanca" received eight 1944 Academy Award nominations and won three: best picture, best director (Michael Curtiz) and best screenplay (Julius and Philip Espstein with Howard Koch). Since the general release date was January 1943, the film did not qualify for the 1943 Oscar ceremony.

Humphrey Bogart received a best actor nomination but inexplicably lost out to James Cagney for his portrayal of George M. Cohan in the biographical musical "Yankee Doodle Dandy." Before 1942, Bogart and Cagney most often played gangsters.

While casting "Casablanca," producer Hal Wallis caught a break. Wallis' first choice for Rick Blaine was another notorious screen tough guy, George Raft. When Raft turned Wallis down, the producer then turned to a star who had a good-guy image, Ronald Reagan. In the end, Bogart accepted the Blaine role and went on to become one of Hollywood's most enduring superstars.

To play across Bogart as Rick's lover Ilsa Lund, Ingrid Bergman was one of the last actors considered. Wallis' early choices included the popular Ann Sheridan, Hedy Lamarr and Vivien Leigh before he fortuitously settled on Bergman. Few acting pairs in cinema history are more famous than Bogey and Bergman in "Casablanca."

But while celebrating "Casablanca's" anniversary by watching it on the special DVD edition that includes lost scenes and an introduction by Lauren Bacall, one of Bogart's four wives, I learned something troubling.

Unthinkable though it may be, a "Casablanca" sequel is in the works. Hollywood loves sequels: "Jaws" 1, 2, 3 and 4; "Halloween," 10 and counting. Even though they rarely succeed — the exceptions are "The Godfather" I, II and III and "Star Wars" — it's easier for Hollywood to redo a tried-and-true script than to write a new, creative one. Such is the dearth of today's Tinseltown talent.

Several earlier "Casablanca" redo scripts never got Hollywood moguls' OK. But one version written sometime during the late 1980s by Howard Koch, one of the 1943 "Casablanca" screenplay authors, is still under consideration. Titled "Return to Casablanca," the story picks up where the original left off. Ilsa has safely returned to America and, along with two other principal characters, Victor Laszlo and Captain Renault, is trying to get back in touch with Rick, who remained in North Africa. Ilsa's main motivation is that she has had a child, Rick's baby. While the new plotline is plausible enough, no audience that has seen the original will be satisfied.

Explaining why "Casablanca" is as popular today as ever, Noah Isenberg, who directs New York's Screen Studies Program at the New School's Eugene Lang College, points to Bogart and Bergman's iconic performances as well as a storyline which "plays directly to our common humanity. There's personal sacrifice for the greater good in Rick's relinquishing of Ilsa, the love of his life."

A sequel would be doomed. No actor can substitute for Bogart and Bergman. And no make-over can convey the "common humanity" theme found in the original. Let well enough alone. Rent the anniversary DVD to appreciate "Casablanca" the way it should be enjoyed.

Joe Guzzardi was born in Hollywood where everyone eats, sleeps and drinks the movies. Contact Joe at guzzjoe@yahoo.com.

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Welcome to the discussion.

11 comments:

  • Jerome Kinderman posted at 3:00 pm on Sun, Dec 2, 2012.

    Jerome R Kinderman Posts: 2367

    Reagan is beloved because he was a great leader. Even those on the other side of the aisle would not deny that.

    Our current CINC has no leadership qualities (that would be zero, zip, nada - none) - this is important. I will admit though that Barack Hussein Obama is one of the most successful "pushers" we've ever had in the Oval Office. Somehow that doesn't make me feel too proud or safe.

     
  • Jerome Kinderman posted at 12:02 pm on Sun, Dec 2, 2012.

    Jerome R Kinderman Posts: 2367

    Neither the president nor his attorney general were aware of Fast and Furious?

    Well so much for competence or at the very least taking responsibility for what goes on under his watch. I suppose “President” Obama has yet to realize that the buck should stop with him. He's been likened to Jesus, FDR, Gandhi, JFK and a host of other remarkable people; and he keeps blaming his predecessor for the tight spots he keeps finds himself in - but he can't even adopt a simple idea set forth by Truman?

    Oh, yeah, that’s some “leader” we have in Barack Hussein Obama! Excuses, excuses, excuses.

     
  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 8:37 pm on Sat, Dec 1, 2012.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    Kevin.. I have to admit, I never skip something you post. No matter I agree or disagree, I always appreciate your style and approach. Thank you!

     
  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 4:38 pm on Sat, Dec 1, 2012.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    Yes, I agree that liberalism needs to be eradicated...and I do not fear it... I welcome it.

     
  • Kevin Paglia posted at 4:31 pm on Sat, Dec 1, 2012.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 2081

    I did not realize Bush was president in 2009, that was when Fast and Furious started.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-31727_162-57461204-10391695/a-primer-on-the-fast-and-furious-scandal/

    "I'm not saying Reagan headed up the Iran-Contra deal - I'm saying he was not made aware of it until later, after they woke him up from his years-long nap."

    By using your same logic was Obama sleeping when HIS people were selling guns to drug trafficers? The program lasted for about 2 years, that is a long nap.

    And please, if you are going to go after Reagan, PLEASE, PLEASE include this: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/03/opinion/reagan-vs-patco-the-strike-that-busted-unions.html?_r=0

    And THEN they named an airport after him.

     
  • Joanne Bobin posted at 3:55 pm on Sat, Dec 1, 2012.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4488

    Yes, I agree the Republican Party has some really serious issues. If they are not resolved, I fear it will be the end for them.

     
  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 3:20 pm on Sat, Dec 1, 2012.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    This country can NOT survive with this level of hatred being taught by our leadership, absorbed by their followers and spewed on a daily basis towards neighbors

    Excellent post Kevin...I do not exxpect the nation to survive as is. I do not think it possible. I do not see this as hate though. I see it more as a fight for freedom. I SEE THE LEFT AS ANTI FREEDOM.

    I see this based on the loss of freedoms through Federal regulations and mandates culminating in Obamacare.

     
  • Joanne Bobin posted at 2:25 pm on Sat, Dec 1, 2012.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4488

    FYI - Mr. Paglia - President Obama was not in on the "Fast and Furious" debacle - neither was AG Holder made aware of the program until things turned south.

    AND it was a program that began during the Bush years - it seems that it was a plan that border agents, on their own, decided to "experiment" with both under Bush and Obama, but now everyone wants to put it smack dab on Obama just to try to make something stick.

    I'm not saying Reagan headed up the Iran-Contra deal - I'm saying he was not made aware of it until later, after they woke him up from his years-long nap.

    People call Reagan "one of our most beloved presidents" mostly due to his folksy ways, because he used to be a movie star, and maybe because he was fortunate enough to be in the White House when the Soviet Union fell, which it was doomed to do anyway. Heck, he couldn't even get his wife to "play nice" with the Soviet first lady - just for appearance sake. Not to mention his own kids had strained relationships with him.

    "Beloved" is a myth that has been built from marshmallow fluff or "Jelly Bellys" - not reality.

    And the "hatred," as you call it, is nothing new. No matter how many times you read comments from two prominent posters in this forum that the current president is the most divisive EVER - please. Those people have no sense of history and/or their memories are VERY short.

     
  • Kevin Paglia posted at 12:29 pm on Sat, Dec 1, 2012.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 2081

    "let his administration run amok by sending arms to Iran in violation of our own embargo"

    In oppose to our current President who let Drug cartels buy guns from us.

    And how about those Contras, strange how Joanne left out that the Democratic President Carter STARTED the US involvement. http://wais.stanford.edu/Politics/politics_presidentreagan.htm

    The truth is that with EVERY President things were done right and things were done wrong. It is just that MOST are blinded by the hate our political leaders teach to see this. Our leaders now teach that their side does only right and the other side does only wrong. I said it on the other post and I will say it here. This country can NOT survive with this level of hatred being taught by our leadership, absorbed by their followers and spewed on a daily basis towards neighbors.

     
  • Joanne Bobin posted at 9:02 am on Sat, Dec 1, 2012.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4488

    If you consider a president who slept through his entire 8 years in office, already showing signs of Alzheimer's, and let his administration run amok by sending arms to Iran in violation of our own embargo, and funding the murderous Contras in Nicaragua, also a violation of our laws "doing well," then I guess Mr. Kinderman is correct.

    Reagan's legacy is unjustifiably amplified and in juxtaposition with reality.

     
  • Jerome Kinderman posted at 1:53 am on Sat, Dec 1, 2012.

    Jerome R Kinderman Posts: 2367

    "When Raft turned Wallis down, the producer then turned to a star who had a good-guy image, Ronald Reagan. In the end, Bogart accepted the Blaine role and went on to become one of Hollywood's most enduring superstars."

    And Ronald Reagan went on to become a beloved President of the United States. I think both did very well.

     

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